Monday, 28 March 2011

Teenager With Altitude recce – March 27, 2010

Planning another look at the descent from Robinson with Andy Crook (both to find it and to make sure Andy would be happy using it in June) we joined Declan (Declan & Andy at the Hobble) in a recce of the Teenager With Altitude fell race route. Last year was the inaugural race and Declan and I have entered the 2011 race in a few weeks time and he was keen to have another look at some of the lines he used last year to try and improve them.

TWA recce 003Morning sky near Keswick

The promise of the weather forecast and the early morning sky never really materialised. The cool breeze made for pleasant running conditions and although Grasmoor was the only summit in cloud the low cloud and haze hung around almost all day.

TWA recce 017Crummock Water with Mellbreak beyond

TWA recce 021Robinson behind the sunbeam

TWA recce 026One of the descents from Whiteless Pike, over Bleak Rigg

TWA recce 034Western Fells beyond Buttermere Moss (I must like this view having shot it a year ago during the race)

TWA recce 040We weren’t alone on the route

TWA recce 041Buttermere with the Buttermere fells beyond

TWA recce 047A raven looks over Little Town farm from Catbells

The descent from Robinson looks good and Andy is happy about using it (thanks Yiannis) so now all I have to do is find it in June. Declan found some improved lines and showed us some other lines that are an improvement on those I used last year – all in all, a good day in good company on the hills.

Monday, 21 March 2011

4 Passes – March 19

A long lost classic event revived with style by Morecambe Bay & Bowland LDWA Group. With no mass start, no time keeping and no places recorded this is about as non-competitive as fell running gets – it is actually a “Challenge Walk” that welcomes runners.

Four Passes 015Low key start in Borrowdale

Four Passes 017Some wander off into the sunshine as others conclude conversations

Four Passes 025Borrowdale

Four Passes 040Wasdale Head

Four Passes 046Huw running into Wasdale from Sty Head Pass

Four Passes 065Black Sail YH in Ennerdale between Black Sail Pass and Scarth Gap

Four Passes 082Gatesgarth farm with Buttermere beyond

Four Passes 099Borrowdale


Four Passes 102Cup of tea at the finish

Pauline and I ran round in about five and half hours, thoroughly enjoying the day and delighted that this classic event has been revived. These photos and more can be seen, in a slideshow if you wish, on my Lake District blog.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Haworth Hobble – 12 March

Unlike last year’s Hobble the 2011 race took place on a mild day under a grey overcast sky. Pauline & I both entered as “Solos” with Pauline planning to run part it with her partner of last year who had a new “Hobble apprentice”. As ever, the start is too fast but for once I was fairly tentative and still concerned about my knee not standing up to either the climbing or the distance. After 4 or 5 miles I was convinced my knee would be fine and so overjoyed that all thoughts of a sensible pace were banished.

Haworth Hobble 001Assembling for the start in Haworth – with most runners facing the wrong way, perhaps the downhill is more attractive?

Haworth Hobble 003Two Bowland club mates climbing out of Todmordern

Haworth Hobble 004Start of the climb out of ‘Tod’

Haworth Hobble 006Looking west from the climb up Stoodley Pike

Haworth Hobble 008

Declan showing how much he is enjoying the climb with Andy following

Everything went swimmingly until approaching Hebden Bridge when cramp struck and everything became much more of a struggle and the final miles were more painful than usual. I struggled to a sub 6 hour time, a bit over 10 minutes slower than 2010 but my knee was fine.

Haworth Hobble 009Pauline finishing behind Paul & Geraldine

Pauline had a much better race, improving her 2010 time by more than 27 minutes! Results here.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Great Hill – 06 March

Despite its name, Great Hill is little more than a protuberance of peat bogs about 3 miles north of Winter Hill in the South Pennines The summit at 1252ft (381m) is only slightly higher than the surrounding moorland, but provides excellent views in all directions particularly to the north and west – on a clear that is, of course. Sunday wasn’t particularly clear but Great Hill is quite gentle and after Saturday’s encouraging run along a flat bit of the Leeds-Liverpool canal I felt my knee might be up to a gentle hill. Pauline and I set off from White Coppice to go over Healey Nab before returning along the goyt to north of Great Hill. The gentle climb along the skyline leads to the summit.
Great Hill 003From Healey Nab north east to Great Hill
Great Hill 004The Waterman’s Cottage overlooking the reservoir

Great Hill 005Sunshine through the trees on below Withnell Moor
Great Hill 007Great Hill summit with two walkers on the path south to Winter Hill
Great Hill 010Winter Hill from the summit of Round Loaf
Not only did my knee survive 20 miles over the weekend it actually felt better after the 20 miles than it had before them. I think (hope) a gentle week will see a further improvement ready for the 33 mile Haworth Hobble on Saturday – fingers-crossed!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Bleasdale Circle fell race – 26 Feb

5 miles and 1250 feet of climbing over Fair Snape & Parlick fells seemed a reasonable precursor to a 20 mile recce of the Pennine Way on the following day.

Bleasdale Circle 001-1Warming up on the tarmac start

Bleasdale Circle 004-2Last part of the climb on Fair Snape Fell

Like all short races this is too fast and furious for photographs but I rarely do short races and I thought there might be a chance of one or two. I was, however, expecting to have plenty more opportunities on the following day on the Pennine Way so I wasn’t going to be too concerned if I didn’t get anything worthwhile from the race.

Just at the end of Thursday night’s run I had a short sharp pain in my right knee which disappeared almost as fast as it appeared. My knee was still a bit tight on Saturday and as soon as I started descending the sharp pain returned and on several occasions I was reduced to walking. I finished the race in 55:14 with a very painful knee. I am hopeful that a week’s rest followed by a gentle week will be enough to let me run the 32 mile Howarth Hobble. Before then is the 42 mile High Peak Marathon but I doubt my knee would last the night and so I withdrew from the Rucksack Club Vets team rather than risk further injury and compromise the team’s performance.

Bleasdale Circle 005-3Mark about to start his recovery